In the Eye of the Storm: Life and Writing in Contemporary Egypt

A Talk by three leading Egyptian writers:

Khaled AlKhamissi, Ahmed Mourad and Ahmed Khaled Towfik

Time: Wednesday 19 Oct 2011, 5.30pm
Place: Keynes Hall, King’s College, University of Cambridge
Sponsored by Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing in collaboration with the Centre of Islamic Studies, CRASSH and King’s College, University of Cambridge
Chair: Professor Yasir Suleiman CBE, FRSE

Taxi by Khaled AlKhamissi

Translated from the Arabic by Jonathan Wright, a best-selling modern masterpiece set in the author’s home country of Egypt, Taxi consists of fifty-eight fictional monologues with Cairo taxi drivers that have been recreated from the author’s own experience, taking the reader on a roller-coaster of emotions as bumpy and noisy as the city’s potholed and chaotic streets. Described as an urban sociology, an ethnography, aclassic of oral history – and a work of poetry in motion – it tells Herculeantales of the struggle for survival and dignity among Greater Cairo’s 80,000 cab drivers. With a post-Revolution introduction by the author.

Novelist, TV producer, and former publisher, Khaled Al Khamissi graduated in Political Science from the Sorbonne in Paris.

Vertigo by Ahmed Mourad

Translated from the Arabic by Robin Moger Ahmed, a society photographer in a celebrated Cairo nightclub, witnesses a friend horrifically killed in a fight between young business rivals. Forced to escape the scene of the crime and go into hiding, Ahmed is ensnared in a web of crime s whose perpetrators stop at nothing to cover up. In this sprawling political thriller, Ahmed is forced to confront ruthless players. It’s a game where the penalty for failure could be his life. A bestseller in Egypt, this tense thriller exposes the seedy underbelly of the country under Mubarak.

Born in 1978, Ahmed Mourad is a photographer, graphic designer and a novelist who has won several awards for his short films. Vertigo is his first novel.

Utopia by Ahmed Khaled Towfik

Translated from the Arabic by Chip Rossetti. A grim futuristic account of Egyptian society in the year 2023, Utopia takes readers on a chilling journey beyond the gated communities of the North Coast where the wealthy are insulated from the bleakness of life outside the walls. When a young man and a girl break out from this bubble of affluence in order to see for themselves the lives of their impoverished fellow Egyptians they are confronted by a world that they had not imagined possible. Breathtaking and suspenseful, Utopia’s twists and turns will keep readers guessing until the very last page, and may leave some wondering whether this is a vision of the future that is not too far away.

Ahmed Khaled Towfik was born in 1962 and is the Arab world’s most prominent bestselling author of fantasy and horror genres.